A hiatus that felt like an eternity for Cules, craving to see Barcelona in action, has finally concluded with the end of the international break.
The Catalan giants resume action today with Rayo Vallecano set to host the game at Estadio de Vallecas.
While Barcelona’s form prior to the break was riddled with sloppiness as testified by their inconsistent results, they will be aiming to improve their situation once and for all.
Injuries continue to pile on as Gavi’s horrifying ACL tear and the momentary absence of Marc-Andre ter Stegen cause concern, but Barça can take solace in the fact that their star man in midfield has returned, Frenkie de Jong.
Xavi hoping for Frenkie to fix their situation
Indeed, according to AS, Xavi hopes that the level of the team and the midfield will improve with the return of the De Jong and Pedri partnership.
Having lost Gavi for the entire season, recovering De Jong instills great optimism, especially considering his worth to the Blaugrana squad.
Prior to suffering an injury against Celta on September 23, the Netherlands international was a key member of Xavi’s squad, contributing in nearly all phases of play.
His ability to break lines through ball carrying and provide penetrating passes aided the build-up immensely. His absence, along with Pedri, was notably felt with Barcelona lacking any form of cohesion against Alaves, Real Sociedad, and Shakhtar Donetsk.
With the dynamic duo back in action, Xavi will look to bring some stability to the team as they trail behind Real Madrid and Girona in La Liga.
Frenkie and Pedri ooze assurance
Despite differences in their play style, assurance exudes when either one of them has the ball. They will not always be the ones to finish off the move but lay the foundations for purposeful spells of possession.
In fact, last season Xavi shed light on their importance when the pair featured together after a long time against Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou.
Xavi said in the post-match conference: “When Frenkie and Pedri get the ball, I feel more relaxed.”
After being out for two months, De Jong is likely to receive minutes off the bench, but his return signals optimism nonetheless.